McDermott calls for quick return to play-off form
Saturday 15 August 2009
Two clubs still harbouring play-off ambitions have what could be their best chance of forcing their way into the top eight today.
Harlequins lost the second of their two consecutive games against Bradford last weekend, going down 42-18 to the Bulls at home.
Their coach, Brian McDermott, told them they would not deserve to make the play-offs on that sort of form, so he will be looking for a major improvement against Salford at the Stoop this afternoon. His side looks stronger for the return of Tony Clubb after suspension, but Danny Orr is out injured.
The Salford coach, Shaun McRae, includes Richie Myler in his squad after leaving him out – rested, dropped or whatever – against the Catalan Dragons last week.
It is rugby league's worst-kept secret that Myler is on his way to Warrington next season and McRae felt he needed a break. If Salford are to have a morale-lifting end to the season, however, they need Myler on the field in the sort of form he showed earlier this year.
They will be without their Australian prop Craig Stapleton today after he was suspended for one match this week for his sending off for using foul and abusive language to the referee after the final hooter in the Catalans match.
The Dragons themselves are in 10th place in the table, behind Quins on points difference. They too have a job that should not be beyond them in a game against Hull today that is being played in Beziers, rather than their usual base in Perpignan.
The Catalans have two of their potential match-winners back – Greg Bird from suspension and Clint Greenshields. The equally influential Thomas Bosc is missing with a rare injury, however.
Hull have a mathematical chance of making the top eight, but no more than that. Their chronic injury problems have continued, with Motu Tony ruled out for the season and Richard Horne unlikely to play again this year.
There is a return, though, for Tom Briscoe, a teenaged winger useful enough to gain selection for England's elite training squad, but kept out of action for most of this season by a knee injury.
The veteran forward Steve Menzies has signed on for another season at Bradford, who are at Cup-finalists Huddersfield tomorrow night.
St Helens, the side they beat in last weekend's memorable semi-final, face the difficult task of regrouping at Hull KR.
Wakefield should consolidate their play-off place at home to bottom-placed Celtic Crusaders.
Latest in Sport
Pornhub: Cheeky Liverpool fan uploads Philippe Coutinho wonder-goal video to adult website
Diego Costa keeps coin thrown at him during Capital One Cup final
Lukas Podolski corner: Has the Arsenal forward taken the worst corner of all time?
Ireland 19 England 9 player ratings: Jonathan Sexton? Devin Toner? Alex Goode? Who was the star man in Dublin?
Eden Hazard didn't like the champagne on offer in the Chelsea dressing room
- 1 Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
- 2 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 3 Pornhub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded